Predestination, Election, Sanctification - Made Plain
People who believe in PREDESTINATION are usually called Calvinists;
though few know who Calvin was, where he lived, or what he taught.
Calvin has been gone for over three centuries but PREDESTINATION is
with us today. The Bible teaches it. The battle is with the living
Bible and not with the departed Calvin.
PREDESTINATION should be viewed in its larger aspects. This world was
created with a definite plan by a planner "who worketh all things after
the counsel of his own will." That plan, toward which the whole
creation moves, is PREDESTINATION. When God called Abram and said, "I
will make of thee a great nation," that was PREDESTINATION for a
certain family. When God said, "I will give unto thee and to thy seed
after thee the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an
everlasting possession," that was, and is, for the land of Canaan,
PREDESTINATION. It has been pledged to Abraham, that is a promise. It
has been foretold to the world, and that is prophecy. Promise,
Prophecy, and PREDESTINATION are three words that apply to the work of
an omnipotent God and they can scarcely be separated.
We are told to take heed to the word of prophecy as unto a lamp shining
in a dark place. PREDESTINATION is the dark place. The flickering light
of prophecy illumines only a few of the many things that God has
planned to do. For instance, "It is not for you to know the times or
the seasons which the Father hath set within his own authority." The
time has been set in the plan of PREDESTINATION but prophecy has not
revealed it. We pick up a few bright shells of prophecy on the shore of
a vast ocean of future events which the Father hath set within his own
authority and which he has not revealed to men, or perhaps, to angels.
When Paul preached to the men of Athens he told them of a Great God,
perhaps too great for sophisticated Athens to comprehend, a God that
made the world and all things that are in it, "Seeing that he is Lord
of heaven and earth, dwelleth not is temples made with hands: neither
is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he
giveth to all life and breath and all things; and hath made of one
blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and
hath determined the times before appointed sad the bounds of their
habitation," "The grandeur that was Greece and the glory that was
Rome," were measured to the inch and ticked off to the minute by the
God who appointed in advance their times and boundaries. As the shores
of the seas were fixed, so was predestined the place in history of
every nation. This is national PREDESTINATION on a world-wide scale.
Paul did- not limit PREDESTINATION to Israel.
We are frail children of dust who know not what a day or an hour may
bring forth. We are prone to think of God as being like ourselves; and
living in breathless suspense while elections are held and battles
fought. Sometimes we feel worried about God, himself. The Bible
presents no such God; and that is one of the marks of its inspiration.
Its great doctrines are very displeasing to men of all races and that
is another indication that the Bible is not a human production. "We aim
to please," is evident in all the works of man. Of all the unpalatable
doctrines in the Bible, PREDESTINATION seems the most distasteful. A
sovereign God, who is Lord of heaven and earth, who appoints times and
boundaries, who leaves nothing to chance, and nothing to man, is not
popular. The mother of Samuel prayed, "The Lord killeth, and maketh
alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh
poor and maketh rich: He bringeth tow, and lifteth up. He raiseth up
the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill,
to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of
glory." (1 Sam. 2:1-10)
In many Bibles the twenty-seventh chapter of Genesis is given a
descriptive title, "The Stolen Blessing." It is the story of Rebecca
and Jacob deceiving Isaac and obtaining a blessing which Isaac intended
for Esau. "the reader should never lose sight of God’s intentions in
the incident. The Lord gave that blessing to Joan before Jacob was
born. "The elder shall serve the younger." A man cannot steal his, own
blessing. It is a simple story of a collision with PREDESTINATION.
Isaac had a feeling of responsibility and proceeded to do as he thought
best about his sons. Rebecca and Jacob were not much better. "There is
no great difference between men who think they can set aside the word
of God as did Isaac and Esau, and those who tremble lest it be set
aside, as did Jacob and Rebecca. That family was rather human on the
doctrine of PREDESTINATION.
The story of Joseph illustrates PREDESTINATION. The brethren sold him
into slavery and that was wicked. The ingratitude of Potiphar was
cruel. We sympathize with Joseph, forgotten in prison. Suddenly, within
a few hours, he sits on a throne beside Pharaoh and we realize that God
was in it all and we understand Joseph as he speaks to his brethren,
"God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and
to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that
sent me hither, but God." Behind the hateful brethren and the heartless
Ishmaelites was the hand of God. Twenty years before the bread of
Canaan was exhausted, God had been working all things after the counsel
of his own will and had sent Joseph to Egypt to provide bread in the
day of famine. Men were blind unconscious instruments of God. Blind
unconscious men call themselves, "free moral agents."
PREDESTINATION is one of the most interesting doctrines in the Bible.
It should be taught in the kindergarten. When Soul, the son of Kish,
went out to search for his father’s asses, he was a mature man, his
family was prominent in Israel, and yet, apparently, he had never seen
the prophet Samuel who had been the leader and judge of Israel for a
long lifetime. We teach our tiny children about Samuel but, in his own
day, Saul knew him not. Saul seems to have known little about prophets
or God. Within twenty-four hours he learned much and the first lesson
could well be entitled PREDESTINATION.
Saul was searching for asses. He was a long way from home, weary,
discouraged, and God was not in his plans or thinking. His state of
mind was very much like any American farmer or business man struggling
with adversity who assures himself that the job is up to himself and
that God has nothing to do with such ordinary things as lost asses or
lost money. Such is the human side of the picture and the human
viewpoint. From the viewpoint of the Bible, and from the Lord’s side,
the picture is different. The previous day, the Lord had said to the
prophet: "Tomorrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the
land of Benjamin and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people
because their cry is come unto me." On the strength of this
information, Samuel prepared a feast, invited the chiefest of the city,
and instructed the cook to set aside a choice portion for the guest of
honor, when he should arrive. Saul thought he was looking for lost
asses, nothing more; but the Lord was sending him to be the guest of
honor at a feast, to commune with Samuel, the prophet, and to be
anointed captain over Israel.
The next morning he was given a second lesson in PREDESTINATION. Saul
was still in the kindergarten learning the A, B, C’s of serving God. As
he leaves, Samuel tells him, "When thou art departed from me today,
then thou shalt find two men by Rachel’s sepulcher in the border of
Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, The asses which thou
wentest to seek are found and thy father hath left the care of the
asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shalt I do for my son? Then
shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain
of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to
Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of
bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine; and they will salute
thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive at
their hands. After that, thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is
the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou
art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of
prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret
and a pipe, and a harp before them; and they shall prophesy: and the
Spirit of the Lord shall come upon thee and thou shalt prophesy with
them, and shalt be turned into another man. And let it be, when these
signs are come unto thee that thou do as occasion serve thee, for God
is with thee." "And all those signs came to pass that day." (1 Sam.
The pace men traveled, the parcels they carried, the journeys they
made, the words they spoke, prearranged by the Lord, that is
PREDESTINATION. The curtain was lifted for one day and Saul saw
himself, a tiny mite, in a universe managed and planned by an
omnipotent God. It is easy to underestimate God but it is impossible to
overestimate his wisdom, his power or the range of his sovereignty from
micro-organisms to heavenly princes, from atoms to celestial systems.
Perhaps Saul’s servant would insist that he himself persuaded Saul to
enter the city and consult the seer and that the Lord had nothing to do
with it. But the Lord had said unto Samuel, "I will send thee a man."
Notice, this is not foreknowledge, this is PREDESTINATION, "I will
send." The three travelers may have set the date for their journey to
Bethel a year before and might well insist that God had had nothing to
do with it. "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of
Israel, the Saviour." (Isa. 45:15) Is there anything that God does not
When the Lord Jesus. would enter Jerusalem he sent two disciples saying
unto them, "Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye
shall find an ass tied and a colt with her: loose them and bring them
unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath
need of them; and straightway he will send them." (Matthew 21:3, 3).
Some five hundred years before, Zechariah had prophesied that the meek
and lowly king would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. When the hour
arrived, the donkey was waiting. We see predestination is the life of a
When he would eat the Passover he sent Peter and John, "Behold when ye
are entered into the city, there shall a man met you, bearing a pitcher
of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall
say unto the good man of the house, The Master with unto thee, Where is
the guest chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples?
And he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready."
(Luke 22:10-12) Think of the man making the trip to the well at a
certain moment and of all the details that must have been prearranged,
by God himself.
As they sat at the table Jesus told them of his predestined death; and
John who heard these things, afterward wrote of him as, "The lamb slain
from the foundation of the world." The Lord sent Judas to do his
betraying. Then he told the disciples that all of them would be
offended and that Peter would deny him three times before the cock
crew. Yes, we can see predestination in the life of a rooster.
Truly the hand of God predestinating human affairs is seen from Genesis
to Revelation and yet the word, itself, is used only four times, and
these four references are definitely applied to New Testament
believers. In the same fashion that Saul found himself anointed captain
while searching for asses; that a water carrier found himself host to
the Lord Jesus; so we find ourselves children of God by the good
pleasure of his will. "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of
children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of
his will" (Eph. 1:5) Some suggest that God predestinates the church, or
body of Christ, but not the individuals who compose it. This is too
farfetched to discuss. A little farther on we read of salvation by
grace and if salvation by grace is for individuals, so is
Predestination covers all things. There is no spot where God does not
operate. Wherever God operates, there is Predestination. "Being
predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things
after the counsel of his own will." (Eph. 1:11)
God is not a passive spectator of the future, but the planner and
predestinator of the future. "For whom he did foreknow he also did
predestinate." "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also
called." (Rom. 8:30)
All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who
are the called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28) "Called according
to his purpose" is identical with Predestination. The Lord’s
predestined purpose in calling Paul was announced before his blinded
eyes were opened. "He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name
before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will
skew him how great things he must suffer for my sake." (Acts 9:15, 16)
Paul was anything but a professional preacher who "made good" with the
public: he was a chosen, predestined vessel, with his work and
sufferings publicly proclaimed at the threshold of his career: he was
called according to God’s purpose. Paul applied this truth to every man
called of God.
Cyrus, the Great; and Josiah, king of Judah; were named centuries
before their births. At least nineteen hundred years before he appears,
the career of a great world ruler, the Beast, of Revelation, as
described and the exact length of his reign of terror is set. God needs
no recording angel to keep the records of mankind. We may well believe
that when the books are opened before the great white throne, men may
hear their deeds recounted from records written before the foundation
of the world. The power to tell Peter, "Before the cock crows, thou
shall deny me thrice," (Matthew 26:75) could have been used to give the
same information a thousand years before Peter’s birth. God, and only
God, could do either. Who set the exact time for the questions which
aggravated Peter? Who made the cock crow?
In the service of Christ, it is as sweet to rest on Predestination, and
Election, and the Calling according to his purpose, as it is to rest on
the merits of Christ for salvation. It makes real the words, "For my
yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30)
Bible students are apt to be critical of what a man teaches on
justification. If his views on the atonement are clear, he is rated as
orthodox. Why should clear views on justification excuse the teacher
who utterly ignores the truth of a living God who calls a man to be
justified, and calls according to his own purpose? How much is
orthodoxy worth that lifts salvation out of its setting of
foreknowledge, predestination, and calling?
Some rage and others scoff at the idea that God predestinates some to
be saved and others to be lost. Can it be that there are disturbing
statements in the Bible that few are willing to accept? "And as many as
were ordained to eternal life believed." (Acts 13:48) A discussion of
this problem comes more properly under the subject of Election. Does
Some who are more interested in prayer than in what the Bible teaches
about prayer, protest that Predestination cuts the nerve of prayer.
If Predestination cuts the nerve of your praying, we suggest that your
prayers need revising. Probably a better statement would be that a lot
of praying cuts the nerve of Predestination. Prayer that defies plain
doctrines of the Bible is not worth a great deal. Paul’s prayer to God
for Israel was that they might be saved, but he had no difficulty in
understanding why they rejected the gospel and those who preached it.
"God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not
see and ears that they should not hear unto this day." (Rom. 11:8)
Human prayer may flounder around in its infirmities, "We know not what
we should pray for as we ought"; (Rom. 8:26) and do violence to the
doctrines of Grace, Security, the Coming of Christ, and Predestination.
The doctrines are not wrong but human prayers are faulty. By the mighty
doctrines of the Word of God our lives and prayers are pruned. Let the
nerves be cut!
The most widespread attitude toward Predestination can be stated in
three words: Predestination is limited. We quote from an article in a
Bible study magazine, "God’s foreknowledge comprehends all things, the
truth of Predestination involves only some things." "At no time does
God impose his will upon individual man." "God respects the power of
choice resident within man." These are simply bold assertions without
any Bible foundation. Such assertions do not describe the call of Saul
of Tarsus or his years of service as a bond-slave of Jesus Christ: nor
do they aptly describe the experiences of Jonah. God does impose his
will upon individual man. God took David from the sheep fold. God slew
King Saul at Mount Gilboa and told him the night before that he was
going to do it. God sent Joseph into Egypt. God sent the seven years of
plenty and the seven years of famine. God does not respect the power of
choice resident in man.
Some say, "God foreknows but he does not predestinate." The Bible says
that God does both, "Whom he did foreknow, he did predestinate." Why
accept one and deny the other? Foreknowledge is not a refuge from the
implications of Predestination. Foreknowledge cuts the nerve of some
prayers as cleanly as Predestination. If God by foreknowledge knows
that a certain thing will come to pass, can all the prayers in the
world change the course of events? If foreknowledge can be upset, how
much is it worth? Every charge leveled against Predestination can be
leveled against foreknowledge.
Others say, "Predestination makes man a mere automaton."
Man is predestinated. Big bad words do not change the situation.
Someone might hurl the charge of "automaton" against Lazarus, bound
hand and foot in grave clothes. We would prefer to be a live automaton
by the grace of God than a dead "go-getter." There was not much free
will and personal initiative in the earthly life of our Lord. "All
things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and in
the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me." (Luke 24:44) As God in
prophecy predestinated, so our Lord and Saviour walked.
And then there is the childish prattle, If God predestinates, why send
missionaries and support preachers?
God predestinates! That is settled! Send missionaries who believe it as
Paul believed it; and support preachers who preach it as Paul preached
it. Missionary work that denies Predestination or any other great
doctrine is a poor investment. The man who says, If God predestinates,
why send missionaries? is exactly like the man who says, If salvation
is not of works, why go to church? One man thinks that missionaries
save people: the other thinks that salvation is earned by church going:
both think of salvation as proceeding from man and fail to comprehend,
"Born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of
man, but of God." (John 1:13)
And is it true that God predestinates no man to be lost?
The Beast who is to rule the world just previous to our Lord’s return,
and his false prophet, are certainly men; and are predestined to the
lake of fire. Judas was lost, the son of perdition, that the scriptures
might be fulfilled. His betrayal of our Lord was foretold like Peter’s
denial. (John 6:70, 17:12) Why limit predestination?
Thanks be to God, for the privilege of believing the Bible!
And what shall we say more of predestined men and nations? Of Ishmael,
"He will be a wild man: his hand against every man?" Of Jacob, "Thy
seed shall lie as the dust of the earth? Behold I am with thee and will
keep thee in all places whither thou goest and will bring thee again
into this land" Of Abraham, "Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land
that is not theirs, and shall serve them: and they shall afflict them
four hundred years; and also that nation whom they shall serve, will I
judge?" Of Nebuchadnezzar, "And all nations shall serve him, and his
son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then
many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him?" Of the ten
kings of Revelation 17:17, "For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil
his will and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast until the
words of God shall he fulfilled?"
The men of this ungodly world have no objection to Predestination
provided it does not come from the Bible. Homer has few readers but is
proclaimed to be the greatest poet of all time. When Achilles is dipped
in the river Styx and his heel is left un-wet, every yokel waits with
breathless interest for the moment when he will be wounded in the heel,
and die! Predestination according to Homer! The story of Achilles is
real to soldiers on the battlefield; as real as cold steel.
Shakespeare did not go to college but he is the idol of the classrooms.
Macbeth is predestined to glory and then to doom. Predestination brewed
by witches is a thrilling work of art. Shakespeare also broadcast the
idea, "There is a destiny that shapes our ends, rough hew them as we
may." Men believe that something called Destiny does things like that;
but they do not believe that God does them.
The man on the street, without benefit of Homer, Shakespeare or the
Bible, has a witches’ brew of his own concoction. "Yer aint going to
die till yer time comes. Aint it the truth?" He is a fatalist. Fatalism
is predestination without a God even as evolution is creation without a
Creator. Fatalism gets its name from "fate" and has no answer to the
question, Who determines fate? The man on the street sees
Predestination at work: little men become great: great men crash in
disgrace: death misses by a hair’s breadth: and Hitler, the paper
hanger, shakes the world. He is frightened by what he sees: and is as
superstitious as a pagan in a primeval forest: to pierce the veil of
fate he spends millions on witch doctors, palmists, mediums and fortune
As long as preachers run from predestination like scared rabbits, folks
who go to church are fairly safe from the Doctrine of Predestination;
but Shakespeare may get them even there.
Election means choosing. The words "chosen" and "elect" are translated
from the same Greek word in the Bible. The doctrine of Election sets
forth the fact that God chooses men for his eternal kingdom and
servants for his work. The Bible is one vast treatise on Election. We
merely make suggestions and direct your attention to a few features of
With the Bible a vast storehouse of Election teaching, we point out
that Election is completely ignored in modern religious thinking and
activities. Everywhere it is taken for granted that the more millions
of dollars are contributed, the more men will be eternally saved: the
more preaching, the more converts. Men and women suffer the pangs of
conscience because it is constantly suggested that imperfections in
their own lives are turning others away from Christ. We wish to bring
you scriptures which plainly teach that these things are not so.
Foreordination, foreknowledge, predestination, promise, prophecy,
election, and grace are so interwoven in the scriptures that it is
difficult to separate the strand of election from predestination; or
predestination from foreknowledge.
Grace says—For by grace are ye saved through faith-and faith is not of
yourselves but the gift of God. (Eph. 2:8, 9)
Election goes a step farther and says that God chose the objects of his
grace—"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound
the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things—and the things which are
despised hath God chosen—that no flesh should glory in his presence,"
(1 Cor. 1:26-31). Election does away with human glory: the big
enterprises doing big things for God are pretenders. God does his own
choosing, at his own time, and in his own way.
Predestination goes a step farther than Election and says that he hath
chosen us in him before the foundation of the world and predestinated
us unto the adoption of children according to the good pleasure of his
will. (Eph. 1:4, 5)
Foreordination has to do with the intimate events of our lives. "Thine
eyes did see mine unformed substance; and in thy book they were all
written, even the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was
none of them." (Ps. 139:16 R.V.)
Foreknowledge differs little from foreordination. "Before I formed thee
in the belly I knew thee—and before thou camest forth out of the womb I
sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." (Jer.
1:5) Paul speaks in similar language of himself, "But when it pleased
God who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his
grace." (Gal. 1:15) Only a small portion of an iceberg appears above
the water; and salvation is tike the iceberg: foreknowledge,
predestination, election, are out of sight; while men see only
confession, baptism, church life, and service. Paul prayed for the
Ephesians not that they might do more; but that they might know
more—"able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and
length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ which
passeth knowledge." (Eph. 3:18, 19) Some of the height and depth is
expressed in—"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be
conformed to the image of his Son-whom he did predestinate, them he
also called; and whom he called, them he also justified." (Rom. 8:28-30)
Justification is not the first rung on the ladder of salvation. Before
justification comes the call of the living God and before the call,
God’s foreknowledge and predestinating purpose. From a most imperfect
memory we quote the lines by Babcock:
Back of the loaf there is the flour;
And back of the flour, the mill;
And back of the mill, the sun and shower;
And back of it all the Father’s will.
Yes, back of the conversion of the humblest man is the Father’s will,
and the Father’s call.
It seems to suit the popular fancy to refer to man as a free moral
agent and even Bible teachers refer to free moral agency as one of the
inalienable rights of man. Let us examine the matter.
The materialist and the evolutionist do not believe in the personal God
of the Bible. They see glory in the heavens; but not THE GLORY OF GOD.
They see wonders is the earth; but they see NO GOD. Life is
unexplained: men evolve: birds fly: fish swim: stars move in exact and
intricate patterns; but the God, who plans, ordains, and rules is
non-existent. The evolutionist lives in a universe of free moral agents
where the germ of today, by watching his p’s and q’s, may become the
elephant of a future age; and the nebulae of our day may become a green
and fruitful world on which future clams may evolve into men. Men who
prattle of free moral agency have exactly the same attitude toward the
intricate pattern of spiritual experiences. Men are saved because
preachers preach and others pray. A free moral agent tends to became
preoccupied with human responsibilities and forgetful of the fact
that—"As for man, his days are as grass." Men feel like free moral
agents; talk like free moral agents; boast of being free moral agents;
but they are not. The universe seems to be running without a ruler; but
it is not.
JESUS PREACHES ELECTION
One day the Lord Jesus was surrounded in a desert place by a multitude
of people. He was moved with compassion and healed their sick; and when
evening came he took five loaves and two fishes and fed about five
thousand men; and when they were filled, the disciples gathered twelve
basketfuls of fragments. The crowd wanted to make their gracious
benefactor king. That is the model and goal of successful preaching
today; the creation of enthusiasm for Jesus.
The next day the same crowd followed him into Capernaum and heard a
sermon from the man who had fed them the day before. The sermon is
regarded in John 6:22-71 and will bear many readings. In it he made
some striking statements on the subject of ELECTION.
He told the crowd that had seen his miracles: "Ye have seen me and
believe not." He was not deceived by crowd enthusiasm and curiosity.
With a multitude of unbelievers before him, he said with utter
confidence, "All that the Father giveth me shall come unto me." If the
Father gave, they came. Persuasion would not do the work. And then he
said something that every preacher should preach, every church member
should hear, and every human being has a right to know. "No man can
come unto me except the Father which hath sent me draw him." (John 6:44)
These words were spoken by the same lips that spoke John 3:16 and they
are just as true. No man can preach or portray Jesus as something more
wonderful than he really is; yet here is the real Jesus, the miracle
working Jesus, standing before a multitude who did not believe is him;
and telling them that no man could come unless the Father draw him.
Many think that if the preacher prays enough or if his people pray
enough, multitudes will be saved. Did Jesus say anything like that? Did
anyone else in the Bible say it?
"It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.
Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father,
cometh unto me." (John 6:45)
God himself must teach the man who comes to Jesus. This is the doctrine
Many of his disciples murmured and said, "This is an hard saying."
(John 6:60) But Jesus knowing who they were that believed not; and that
Judas would betray him repeated the hardest saying of all. "Therefore
said I unto you, that no man can come unto me except it were given unto
him of my Father." (John 6:65)
From that time many of his disciples (not the twelve) went back and
walked no more with him. Turned away from Jesus chiefly by what he said
about Election! A poet once wrote a poem which has for its theme—Only
God can make a tree. Nobody ever seemed to get mad about that poem, for
it is obvious that even super-educated men cannot make a tree. But when
it comes to salvation, people get mad when you tell them that only god
can make a saint; even disciples turned away from Jesus at Capernaum
and left him with only twelve discouraged men and, of them, one was
known to be a devil. They understood Jesus perfectly but they did not
like what he taught.
Those eleven men with no more courage than you or I, and with no more
love of being rejected, picture the faith that only God can give. Jesus
could say, Will ye also go away? And Peter could answer for all, "To
whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." (John 6:68)
When hungry, they could go into the fields and eat the raw grain. No
loaves and fishes for them, they had the words of eternal life. Later
when Jesus was about to leave them he told them, "Ye have not chosen me
but I have chosen you." (Jon 15:16) They stayed because they had been
Election does not make salvation a narrow thing: Election makes
salvation a thing of grandeur that only God can create; and man with
his money, buildings, social attractions and entertainment can imitate
but never duplicate. And Judas remained a devil!
JESUS AND HIS SHEEP
There may be some uncertainty as to how shepherds manage their flocks
in Palestine today; and more uncertainty as to how they did it nineteen
hundred years ago; but the usual explanation is: that they were
cooperative and several flocks were kept by night in the same fold; in
the morning each shepherd led his own flock to the hills.
Jesus spoke a parable concerning sheep. "But he that entereth in by the
door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the
sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth
them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before
them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger
will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the
voice of strangers." (John 10:1-5)
Just so simply Jesus came and called his sheep, Zacchaeus from the
sycamore tree, a woman from her water-pot. None of them needed urging:
they came at his call. He went away and left them to tell their
friends, "How great things the Lord hath done to thee and hath had
compassion on thee." (Mark 5:19) They would not follow anyone else:
they belonged to him for eternity. Of this shepherd, David wrote a
thousand years before, "The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want. And
I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Jesus’ parable of the sheepfold did not win the approval of the crowd
and it does not meet approval today. "And many of them said, He hath a
devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the
words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the
blind?" (John 10:20, 21) "Then came the Jews round about him and said
unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ,
tell us plainly." We see no reason for believing that wrong motives lay
behind their question. They had honest doubts: and millions have honest
doubts today. There is an honest question, Why do so many not believe?
Many who grow up in church and Sunday school do not believe. Preacher’s
sons do not believe. Why did Abel believe; and Cain not believe? Why
did Jesus, the shepherd, come into the fold, call his own sheep by
name, lead them forth, and leave so many sheep uncalled?
How do men answer the question, Why do so many not believe? Here are
some of the answers: Poor preaching, inconsistent church members,
Christians do not pray enough, preachers do not pray enough, cold
churches, not enough personal workers.
What is the answer of Jesus? "Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye
believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear
witness of me. But ye believe not, BECAUSE YE ARE NOT OF MY SHEEP, AS I
SAID UNTO YOU."
Can anything be plainer? Jesus’ sheep believe: others do not. Can all
the preaching in the world make someone else’s sheep into Jesus’ sheep?
Then our Lord sweeps into the positive presentation of the truth of
Election: "My sheep hear my voice." Bear in mind, he was speaking to
unbelievers who, a few moments later, would pick up stones to stone
him. To the men of Capernaum he had said, "All that the Father giveth
me shall come unto me:" to the men of Jerusalem he says, "My sheep hear
my voice, and I know them and they follow me: and I give unto them
eternal life: and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck
them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all;
and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my
Father are one." (John 10:27-31)
Again he refers to believers as the Father’s gift to his Son. The
eternal security of the believer rests not on perseverance but. on the
doctrine of Election: God gives believers to his Son for all eternity.
A REAL ATTRACTION
In Luke 16:19-31, we have the story of the rich man in Hades. Many are
so curious about Hades that they miss much that our Lord taught. The
rich man in Hades had a brilliant idea for keeping his five brothers
out of torment. He asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house
that he might testify unto them lest they also come to this place of
And Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them
What! Moses and the prophets! The Old Testament’s enough! Merely a
book! No need of a preacher! No need of a personal worker! No need of
tracts! No need of solos! Didn’t Abraham believe in soul winning?
The rich man would not be diverted so easily. He had an idea with
possibilities. "And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one weft unto
them from the dead, they will repent."
Think of the attractions used to win souls! Musical vaudeville!
Sensational advertising! High pressure methods! Crowds! Would any of
them or all of them equal in drawing power LAZARUS FROM HADES?
"And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither
will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." We gather from
what Jesus taught that no one has been brought to repentance by solos,
trombones, cartoons, lurid death-bed scenes, or sensational preaching;
who would not have repented by the simple proclamation of Moses and the
Personal workers can be the most dangerous people in the world. A
personal worker may lead you into the camp of Jehovah’s Witnesses; or
into the legalism of the Adventists; or the furor of the tongues
movement; or the devil’s brew of spiritualism; or the Oxford movement;
or into Anglo-Israelism; or into one of a thousand immature, disorderly
enterprises fostered by true believers. God has something better than
sincere but often deluded personal workers for bringing men to
repentance: They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. "For
had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me."
(John 5:46) We caution those who honor the New Testament to the extent
of dishonoring the Old Testament. The only personal work and the only
preaching that does not go beyond God’s order is that which so
completely hides itself behind the written word of God as to be
practically invisible. That a true personal work!
Many think of Jesus as though he went about seeking the ears of men;
striving desperately to make them understand truth; and failing because
of human stupidity and sinfulness. We call attention to Jesus sitting
in a boat and preaching in parables to the multitude on shore. Today
there is much disagreement as to the meaning of these parables;
although all agree that they seem as simple as Aesop’s fables.
Evidently there was more disagreement at the time they were spoken than
there is today.
The disciples came and said unto him,—Why speakest thou unto them in
parables? (Mathew 13:10) "He answered and said unto them, Because it is
given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, BUT TO
THEM IT IS NOT GIVEN." To them it is not given! To them it is not
given! "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see
not: and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand." "But
blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear."
Then he explained in private to his disciples the meaning of the
parable. Is this the picture of Jesus, the preacher, that you carry in
your heart and mind?
THE LORD PRAYS
A great evangelist died and his wife was quoted by the press as saying,
"He saved a million souls." Similar statements are so common that they
scarcely attract attention. The prayer of our Lord in the seventeenth
chapter of John uses no such language in describing his own labors. Six
times he refers to believers as the Father’s gift to him. Is salvation
the gift of God? Believers also are the gift of God. Is salvation not
of works, lest any man should boast? Believers also are not of works
lest any man should boast. From his prayer, we quote:
"As thou hast given him power over all flesh that he should give
eternal life to as many as thou hast given him."
"I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of
the world: thine they were and thou gavest them me."
"I pray not for the world but for them which thou hast given me: for
they are thine."
"Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me."
"Those that thou gavest me I have kept."
THE DAY OF PENTECOST
As we leave the gospels and sweep into the world wide horizons of the
great commission, we see the gospel preached to Jew and Gentile as
Jesus preached it at Capernaum with God’s electing purposes laid before
men as frankly and as clearly as they are set forth in John 6 and John
On the day of Pentecost Peter proclaimed,—The promise is unto you, and
to your children, and to all that are afar off, even AS MANY AS THE
LORD OUR GOD SHALL CALL. Here we see emphasized the CALL of the Living
God, "Whom he did predestinate them he also CALLED"; "for ye see your
CALLING brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many
mighty, not many noble are CALLED: but GOD HATH CHOSEN." What happened
at Capernaum happened on Pentecost. "All that the Father giveth me
shall come to me."
Peter urged, "Save yourselves FROM this untoward generation." Instead
of urging, "Win your pal": he testified, "Save yourself from your pal."
There is a world of difference between the two ideas.
Today men, who do not know a single chapter of the Word, are prodded
into raising their hands for prayer; then into coming forward; then
into some sort of profession; and then into baptism. How different from
those who GLADLY RECEIVED HIS WORD and were baptized? In the parable of
the sheep fold, the shepherd does not push the sheep: he goes before
and they follow him. Are we afraid to trust God to do such a work or do
we not believe in it?
On Pentecost, the Lord of the sheepfold was SOVEREIGN and added to the
church daily such as should be saved.
SAUL OF TARSUS AND ELECTION
There is some tendency to magnify Election for service; and to minimize
Election for salvation. In Saul of Tarsus, we see both tied in one
bundle. The Lord himself blinded a blaspheming murderer and said, "Go
into tire city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do." To
Ananias the Lord said, "He is a CHOSEN VESSEL unto me, to bear my name
before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel," Behold in
Saul, the doctrine of Election in flesh and blood! Called from
breathing out threatenings and slaughter to be an apostle, "not of men,
neither by man, but by Jesus Christ!" (Gal. 1:1). So amazing was this
act of Election that, "When Saul was come to Jerusalem he assayed to
join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and
believed not that he was a disciple," (Acts 9:26). In our day, service
is put on the basis of a vague term called "consecration;" and
education in the New Testament it is on the basis of the Lord’s
Before this writer knew much about Election or anything about
predestination, one verse flashed across the skies with dazzling
brilliance. It is found in Acts 13:48. "And as many as were ordained to
eternal life believed." Little did he realize that the truth of that
verse underlay the whole Bible.
JACOB AND ESAU
The doctrine of Election is mentioned many times; and flies up and hits
one in the face from almost any page of the Bible; but is quite fully
set forth in Romans 9:10-24.
Rebecca, with child, was having a terrible time: two infants fought
like desperados in her womb. In answer to her inquiry the Lord said
unto her, "Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall
be separated from thy bowels: and the one people shall be stronger than
the other people: and the elder shall serve the younger." (Gen. 25:23)
There may be in our country some thirty million children and perhaps
not one of them will ever found a new nation; but in one womb there
were two nations; one, predestined to be the greatest nation in
history, the chosen people; and the other, under the judgment of God.
To you who read this, it is simple prophecy, an example of the
foreknowledge of God: to Jacob and Esau, it was for each of them and
their descendants, PREDESTINATION: inasmuch as one is chosen for glory
and honor; and the other for judgment; it is an example of ELECTION. We
elect men to honor and think nothing of it. Is God Almighty forbidden
Paul says of this act of Election; For the children being not yet born,
neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according
to election might stand, not of works but of him that calleth; it was
said unto her,—The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written,
Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (Rom. 9:11-13)
God elects! God calls! God elects before birth! God elects, not of
works! The record is before you!
Paul asks, Is there unrighteousness with God? God elected!
Paul answers his own question, God forbid! God elects, not of works,
before birth, and calls, and his Election is righteous. That is the
gist of the doctrine of Election.
Election irritates some people like a gadfly and chiefly because it
blesses or judges a man before he is born. Men see no wrong in hanging
a man after be has cruelly murdered his wife; but they object to God
condemning him while an infant in arms. They forget that God sees the
future more clearly than we see the past. For God to wait until a man
has done evil; and then condemn him; when God for ages past has known
that he was going to do it, is nonsense. God sees the future as man
sees the past. There is no other way for the God of foreknowledge to
And then Paul quotes from the Old Testament, for Election was old in
the days of Moses,—For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I
will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have
Paul comments on this,—So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of
him that runneth but of God that showeth mercy. For the scripture with
unto Pharaoh,—Even for this purpose have I raised thee up, that I might
show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout
all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy sad
whom he will he hardeneth.
Do you believe that God hardens men as he hardened Pharaoh?
Do you believe that God has mercy on whom he will have mercy?
Do you believe that God hardens whom he will?
If you believe these things, you believe in Election. If you do not
believe these things, you do not believe in Election.
Paul concludes by applying these truths to our own day,—"And that he
might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy which
he had afore prepared unto glory. Even us whom he hath called not of
the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"
Paul was a Hebrew of the Hebrews; and could have wished himself
accursed for his brethren’s sake: from a heart of love he teaches of
Election as applied to Israel "What then? Israel hath not obtained that
for which he seeketh; but the Election hath obtained it, and the rest
were blinded according as it is written God hath given them the spirit
of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should
not hear; unto this day." (Rom. 11:1-10)
We have heard Gentile Christians blamed for Israel’s condition; but the
Bible says that an Elect remnant has obtained salvation by grace and
that God hath blinded the rest.
ELECTION AND THE NEW BIRTH
Few Bible teachers deny that ye must be born again but the subject is
mired down in soft and mushy thinking as to the condition or cause of
the new birth. The idea seems to prevail that a man decides to be born
again: or that he believes himself into the new birth. Men who believe
Jesus when he said, "No man can come unto me except it were given unto
him of my Father:" or who believe Paul, "Not of him that willeth, nor
of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy;" (Rom. 9:16) will
not have any trouble in understanding the new birth, "Which were born
not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but
of God." (John 1:13)
No one need lose any sleep over John 3:16 upsetting Election. Paul says
that the preaching of Christ crucified is a stumbling block to Jews and
foolishness to Greeks but unto them that are called, Christ the power
of God and the wisdom of God. Those words, "unto them that are called,"
explain why John 3:16 means so much to some people and so little to
others. "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."
Holiness is a Bible doctrine but most unholy controversies have been
stirred up on the subject. And yet the doctrine of sanctification, or
holiness, is simple; as simple as the way of salvation. Much
misunderstanding springs from the fact that there are two meanings
given to the word, "holy," in ordinary conversation and also in the
There is a family of holiness words translated from the same root in
Hebrew and in Greek. Sanctification and holiness mean exactly the same
thing. A saint is a sanctified person, in fact we should think of
sanctification as "saintification"; for the word undergoes a change of
spelling in passing from the noun form to the verb forms. Some of this
family of words which carry an identical root meaning are, saint,
sanctify, sanctification, holy, hallowed, holiness, sanctuary, and, in
some cases, consecrate.
The two definitions of "holy" as given in The Standard Dictionary are:
"Free from sin and perfect in righteousness and purity, or
approximating that condition"; "Set apart for the service of God or for
sacred uses; sacred."
There is a vast difference between thinking of "Aaron, the saint of the
Lord," (Ps. 106:16) as perfect in righteousness; or thinking of him as
set apart for the service of God. There is a great difference whether
you think of your friend and neighbor as perfect in righteousness; or
as set apart from other men by the atoning work of our Lord Jesus
There are dozens of holiness sects. Some are violent "splits" from
other holiness groups. They do not agree on practices nor do they get
along very well with one another. They differ on, "How perfect is
perfection?" They all agree that sanctification is a synonym for
righteousness; and that it comes as the result of a highly emotional
experience which they label, "sanctification"; and without it, the most
faithful believer will be lost.
This writer has known many holiness people; some of whom would be a
credit to any fellowship; but he has never known one who by any stretch
of the imagination could be considered free from all sin. You may free
a man from vices like smoking, or card playing; but to free him from
pride, selfishness, envy, and covetousness, is another matter. Many
with Puritanical standards of living are unbearable as companions and a
nuisance in any church.
Preachers of holiness are fired because of evident faults perhaps more
frequently than are pastors of other faiths. Holiness congregations
wait to see what is wrong with the next pastor like hardened Methodists
or Baptists and are seldom disappointed. We say with the old Quaker,
"If thou canst find a man without sin, send him to me; and I will pay
his fare, though it be from the uttermost part of the earth."
To preserve this delusion of righteousness, holiness people must drug
reason with excitement and emotionalism, so that sound thinking is
impossible; and then an experience must be emphasized to the exclusion
of the results of that experience. They dwell on how they came to the
altar, yielded all to God, and had a glorious experience which they
label, "sanctification." The FACT of righteousness is lost in the
EXPERIENCE of getting it. It is far more important to establish the
fact, by observation and testimony, that a certain man is actually
SINLESS than to listen to the story of his experience. The "experience"
of sanctification fails to interest us because we have never met the
man from whom sin has been eradicated.
A man with a very limited knowledge of English and no knowledge of
Hebrew or Greek can settle the question of the meaning of the word
"holy," by merely reading his Bible. In Genesis 2:3, we read that God
blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: in Exodus 20:8, Israel was
told to remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. The sabbath day was
not free from sin and perfect in righteousness. Work ceased; but work
is not sinful. The sabbath day was "Set apart for God": it was a sacred
day. Common work violated sacredness.
The ground, on which Moses stood when God spoke at the burning bush,
was called holy ground (Ex. 3:5). It was not righteous ground; and the
man who stood there was far from sinless; and loathe to do the will of
God; but he was standing in the presence of God. It was a spot more
sacred than any cathedral built by man: it was holy ground.
Holy convocations were commanded (Ex. 12:16). These were gatherings
sacred to the worship of God as distinguished from the ordinary
convocations of men.
The Lord said to Israel, Sanctify unto me all the firstborn of man and
beast: it is mine (Ex 13:2). The firstborn was no more free from sin
than the second born but God claimed the firstborn, "It is mine." That
which belonged to God was sanctified, or sacred.
Our readers can take a concordance and travel through the Old Testament
from Genesis to Malachi and find that the holiness group of words is
used everywhere in this one sense. The tabernacle was holy because
devoted exclusively to the worship of God. Priests were holy, set apart
for the sacred service of the tabernacle: A man who was not "set
apart," dared not perform the sacred ceremonies. Priests were probably
little better than ordinary men in the matter of righteousness; but by
virtue of their sacred office they were holy. Even the garments they
wore were holy because worn exclusively in the service of God.
When we speak of God as holy, we are not referring to his
righteousness. God is set apart from men: He is holy. In the worship of
the tabernacle and temple he was approached only by a mediator, the
high priest. Today there is no entering into the presence of God except
through the blood of Jesus Christ, "No man cometh unto the Father but
by me." (John 14:6) It is this attribute of God which is described by
the word "holy."
In the New Testament, we find the word "holy" used in exactly the same
sense; and we find not the slightest change in its meaning whether
applied to things or people.
Jerusalem where, our Lord was hated, persecuted, and crucified is
called the Holy City (Matthew 4:5). The Lord has put his name there and
eventually he will reign there. Because of the Lord’s purposes and
plans for Jerusalem, it is sacred above all other cities of the world:
it is a holy city.
We are told to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15). We
cannot make him more righteous but we can set him apart for reverent
worship: "Hallowed be thy name."
Our Lord prayed, Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth
(John 17:17). Believers are set apart from unbelievers as oil is set
apart from water: the more of God’s word, the more set apart.
Sanctification is separation, rather than sinlessness.
Believers are told, Be ye not unequally yoked together with
unbelievers; because there is no fellowship between righteousness and
unrighteousness, no communion of light with darkness, no peace between
Christ and the devil, no agreement with idols: wherefore come out from
among them and be ye separate saith the Lord and touch not the unclean
thing: and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye
shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having
therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from
all filthiness of the flesh and spirit perfecting holiness in the fear
of God (2 Cor. 7:1). Apart from unbelief, apart from idols, apart from
the devil, there is a place of blessing; where God blesses his sons and
daughters with precious promises. It is one thing to avoid yokes with
unbelievers, fellowship with unrighteousness, peace with the devil and
agreement with idols; and it is another thing to seek an emotional
experience that will instantly free us from sin. One is a simple
practical manner of life and the other is unscriptural wishful
thinking. It is one thing to step out of worldly tangles, with all of
our weaknesses and infirmities to walk with a Father who will bless;
and it is another to boast of self-righteousness. To cleanse ourselves
from things that defile flesh and spirit is one thing; and to claim
that sin has been eradicated is a very different thing.
When Lot fled from Sodom, he was perfecting holiness (set-apartness) in
the fear of God but he was not perfecting Lot. He left a very wicked
city but he did not leave his own sinfulness.
The Lord had said unto Abram in Ur of the Chaldees; Get then out of thy
country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house. He came
into the land of Canaan with his nephew Lot and Lot’s household; and
that is a fair example of the way most of us obey the word of God; but
the plan did not work; neither did the plan to marry Hagar; nor the
plan to keep Ishmael; nor the plan to save Sodom and Gomorrah for the
sake of ten righteous. But some forty years after coming to Canaan,
Abraham had learned much and he was ready to do exactly what the Lord
told him to do, and to offer up Isaac. Through weary years in which
tribulation worked patience; and patience experience; and experience
hope; God perfected the setting apart of Abram. In the smaller lives
and experiences of the Thessalonians, the God of patience was working;
and Paul writes of their many little trials and testings; Esteem them
which are over you, warn the unruly, support the weak, be patient,
rejoice, pray, give thanks, prove all things, abstain from all
appearance of evil, and the very God of peace sanctify you wholly. Not
in the excitement and emotionalism of holiness meetings but in a
constant succession of daily duties; well done, God was wholly setting
apart for his service believers at Thessalonica. Great soldiers are
made on the battlefield; motherhood blooms at the cook stove and wash
tub: and sanctification flourishes in patient church life.
There is a wide spread emphasis on certain lines of conduct that would
make a believer a constant irritant to those about him; preaching to
the unwilling ears of fellow workers, warning the neighbors, and
fomenting the liquor issue. There are many verses that call us to
another policy. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which
no man shall see the Lord." (Heb. 12:14). We are to avoid yokes with
unbelievers and fellowship with unrighteousness but we are to do it
peacefully; or perhaps courteously; as we go out to walk with some one
far better, the living God; and to follow after sanctification without
which no span shall we the Lord. Which brings us squarely up against
the question, how do men become sanctified?
Sanctification is as simple as salvation; it comes at the same time as
salvation: it comes to the same people: and in the same way, by simple
faith in a Saviour. "We are sanctified through the offering of the body
of Jesus Christ once for all," (Heb. 10:10). So also comes salvation.
Salvation comes once for all. Sanctification comes once for all.
Sanctification is combined with perfection, "For by one offering he
hath perfected forever them that are sanctified," (Heb. 10:14).
Salvation refers to one aspect, saved from perdition: Sanctification
refers to the other aspect, set apart to be heirs of God and joint
heirs with Christ. Look down at the pit from which we were digged and
talk of salvation: look upward to eternal life with God, the Father,
and Jesus Christ our Lord, and talk of sanctification. Preachers speak
constantly of salvation and seldom mention sanctification. We believe
that the New Testament speaks more often and more freely of
sanctification than of salvation. Nothing brings this out more clearly
than the word "saint," as used in Paul’s epistles.
A saint is a sanctified person, or a holy person. There are no
unsanctified saints. While men search for a word to describe the
children of God and awkwardly refer to them as: "the saved,"
"born-again one," "true believers," and similar terms; they are
overlooking the fact that the common term for ordinary believers is
"saints." Paul tells Agrippa of his experience on the Damascus road and
how Jesus said to him, "I send time to open their eyes and to turn them
from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they
may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are
sanctified by faith in me," (Acts 26:18). Men, that are sanctified by
faith, are saints; and Paul called them saints. We are sanctified by
faith in Christ. We are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus
Christ once for all. He hath perfected forever them that are
sanctified. Every man who is sanctified, is a saint. Whenever you read
the word "saint," you, are face to face with sanctification in flesh
and blood. Sanctification makes, a saint; and it is not a second work
of grace; but the work of grace. As to unsanctified living, much
depends on the viewpoint. Is a pious man who tells a whopping lie about
sin eradicated from his life, any more sanctified in his living than
the soul who chews tobacco?
Over sixty times the term "saint" is used in the New Testament to
describe the children of God. Here are some examples: Salute every
saint in Christ Jesus. Many of the saints did I shut up in prison. Unto
me, who am less than the least of all saints. At the coming of the Lord
Jesus with all his saints. Receive her in the Lord as becometh saints.
The love which ye have to all the saints. The word, "Christian" is used
only three times: the word "disciple" is not used after the book of
Some will ask, Why does the dictionary give two definitions for Holy?
Became the English language is notoriously inaccurate. That is one
reason why we have so many lawyers and sects. For centuries men of more
or less repute have attached to the word two meanings. The habit still
remains and the dictionary records our bad habits. We cannot change
habits of speech or dictionaries but can point out that the Bible uses
the holiness group of word with one clear distinct meaning—"set apart
for the service of God, or sacred." We regret that printers use titles
brought out of Catholicism for the books of the New Testament; such as
"‘Saint Paul," and "Saint Pete. Paul did not give his fellow apostle
the honorary title of "Saint Peter," but he did honor every believer in
Jesus Christ with the title "saint," and he referred to himself as less
than the least of all saints.
Jeremiah was sanctified before he was born, "Before thou camest forth
out of the womb I sanctified thee." Set spat for the predestined work
that God elected! (Jer. 1:5)
ORSON P. JONES PASTOR
GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH
3844 GEORGIA ST.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
* This article was first published in 1945 by Rev. Orson P. Jones. Rev.
Jones was pastor of Grace Baptist Church of San Diego, CA. for almost
half a century!